Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I write. I am not a writer, but I write. And while I enjoy the virtual vanity of accumulating comments on this blog, I essentially follow Caffeinated Joe's philosophy and write for myself. I think it's great that other people read my crap, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

That stated, I (and many of my blogging companions) have noticed that many, many, many commenters seem, well, disingenuous.  Over the past few months we've identified many laughable habits and have even come up with terms describing these particular blog "readers." And I figured I'd share them with you.
  • Alpha-Omegas - these are the people who, usually when dealing with admittedly lengthy blog entries, only read the first and last paragraphs of that entry, and leave comments in the hopes that you won't notice. These "readers" fancy themselves as extremely clever, though often their comments provide glaring evidence leading to the conclusion that they have no idea what your piece is about.
  • Charlie Tunas - simply put, these are people who leave "canned comments." Often painfully obvious (as many tend to be members of writing groups or memes), one can safely surmise that they actually cut and paste certain comments, changing a word here or there in order to tailor it to your entry.
  • Fanboys - not necessarily non-readers, but their commenting practices reveal a certain... lack of discerning ability? Have you ever come across a blog that is clearly full of talentless or otherwise bad "writing," but somehow has hundreds of followers? And those followers ALWAYS "love" the work and never have anything constructive or specific to say.  Yeah... those people.
  • Follower Fishers - people who only comment in the hopes of attracting followers to their own blogs. They come in many forms, utilizing the non-reading technique of others in vain (as in vanity) attempts to get us to read their crap.
  • Moles - not bad in and of themselves, but they do tend to be a tad condescending by linking their own blog or blog entry in a comment they leave for you. Sure, it can be a thoughtful thing to do when the link leads to something the commenter feels might be related to what you wrote, but more often a mole is simply follower-fishing. If not, they're doing a pretty good job of implying that you're too stupid to follow their profile back to their blog. Which, you know, is what most of us do when we're curious enough to see who left a comment.
  • Missionaries - these make me want to puke most of the time. You know who they are. Someone who came across your blog, read something they didn't like or disagreed with, and offered to show you their own work in order to "correct your opinion" or "belief set" so you can be saved. I don't know about you, but I write fiction a lot, and I don't need to be saved. My characters might, but I don't. And even if I did, I don't want to be. And even if I wanted to be, I doubt I'd let a blogger or a viral marketer try to do it.
  • Skimmers - though these "readers" don't feel they are as clever as Alpha-Omegas, they are actually far better at not reading your blog than most other pretend-readers. They'll scroll through, looking for keywords that repeat or otherwise stand out, then leave a cautiously formulated comment reflecting the fact that they noticed those words or phrases. Harder to catch, these ones, but their comments also hint at not knowing what your piece is actually about.
There are more, but I'll let you come up with funny monikers for those people.

At any rate, I'm just asking for commenters to provide the courtesy of actually having read what they have commented on. Is that fair? Or am I just being anal?

While I may leave a short, confusing, or otherwise sarcastically brief and/or bereft comment, I can assure you that if a comment was left by me, it means that I read your post... from the first word to the last word. Anything less would be hypocritical.

Can't we all just get along?

Oh, wait... never mind. Getting along would make my life boring.


  1. Made me immediately wonder whether I'm guilty of such lapses in good commenter etiquette. Well, at least if I'm commenting I, like you, have read (even if my comments are sometimes less than pithy)

    Of all these, I think the "fanboy" category is my favorite for scathing accuracy! Although, I wouldn't complain if I got a few of those...but I know exactly what you mean.

  2. So, writing makes your life boring? ;•D

  3. Haha . you're a funny fucker. As for the fanboys, I find they're mostly fangirls! Harsh Jeffrey, harsh but an element of truth. Must admit I'm guilty of skimming on occasion, not all but some of the longer posts and never yours but I'm with you, if you comment, have the courtesy to have read the post. And frankly, I'd like someone to disagree now and then, postulate a different position. Not all out war mind, just honesty.

  4. I may be a PITA commenter, but at least I'm no fangirl. :)

  5. Hi, Jeff. I just finished reading this fantastic post on your marvelous blog, while visiting here on the way from MY blog, and just thought I would uncan a comment here to see if I could save your miserable writer's soul, but can't really remember what your post was actually about or even if I did in fact read it.


  6. I read your post. I really did read it. And now here's what I wanna know, if the blogosphere is just "full" of these people, then how exactly do you know if the stuff that you wrote are good or bad?

  7. Note from your 3rd grade teacher: Jeff does not play well with others.

    ha--i've noticed a little of this, but i have so few readers compared to others that it's not a real issue...happy Wednesday, wherever you are.

  8. I am glad to see you did this. N umbers1,3,4, and 5 are all at my place on occasion. The Alpha-Omegas are the ones that drive me crazy. I write something that borders on disturbing and they leave a comment like, "Your words are breathtaking. I love how beautiful this is."

    I may be guilty of being a Fanboy. "Love it!" is a comment I leave when I love what I read. That said, Jeff, I LOVED this! Couldn't agree more :).

    http://... haha

  9. Oh I am guilty, so guilty - except for the fishing for fans thing. . .I don't care if you follow me or not! :) <3

  10. Huh. I'm tempted to quote Simon Cowell or something.

    While I recognize most of these type as visitors to my blog (and may be guilty of a few of their practices myself), I cannot help but blame myself. Were my words good enough, intriguing enough, or informative enough, visitors would actually read them. No skimming, no alpha and omega, no mere fishing or fanning, but reading.

    If they skim or jump from top to bottom, it's because I failed to present anything that made them want to read it all. My bad.

    Their clever, inane, or vacuously polite comments might easily be translated into "blech!"

  11. It would probably be rude of me but I so could nominate several someones for each of those categories. The follower fishers are the worst. I'll follow a blog if I want to come back, that way I can find you. I'll follow AND put you in my blog roll if I read you almost every day. I don't understand the people who follow and never come back. Or the ones who have hundreds upon hundreds of blogs they follow. Who could possibly read that much and still have a real life?